The NHL’s new rules, designed to open up the offensive game, have benefited no King more than Belanger, whose strong skating and puck handling is being rewarded because defensemen can no longer obstruct as easily. “I love the new rules; I think they’re going to be very good for me,” Belanger said. “It’s still the NHL, and it’s still hard out there, but it’s harder now for the defensemen and it’s easier to move the puck.” Belanger has two goals and three assists in eight games, including what was one of the best, jaw-dropping plays of the Kings’ young season, which he made in the second period Wednesday at Colorado. The Kings, who had trailed by three goals, pulled within 4-3 when Belanger chased down a loose puck in the corner of the Colorado zone and, in one motion, put the puck on his stick and whipped a pass through the crease and onto the stick of Sean Avery, who one-timed it for a goal from a tough angle. In part because of the depth among Kings forwards, Belanger remains firm in his role as the center of the Kings’ “energy” line. But even as roster spots were up for grabs in training camp last month, Belanger never had any reason to be concerned. “I think (coach) Andy (Murray) knows what I can bring to the table,” Belanger said. “I’m a guy who can play 16 or 18 minutes and over 82 games I’m not going to be great every night but I try to be consistent. I think that’s one of my strengths.” Winning combo: Craig Conroy and Pavol Demitra rarely played on the same line during their four-plus seasons together in St. Louis, but recently they have been giving the Kings’ opponents the blues. During Eric Belanger’s five seasons with the Kings, there isn’t much the team hasn’t asked him to do. He’s centered just about every line combination the Kings have thrown together. But not until this season have the Kings really seen all that Belanger can do. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week In the Kings’ last two games, Demitra totaled three goals and one assist and Conroy broke out of an early-season scoring slump with two goals and five assists. “Whenever you play with (Demitra) you know you’re going to get some chances, which is fun,” Conroy said. “(Earlier) we had a lot of chances but nothing was going in. Now they’re starting to go in.” Status report: Sean Avery (ankle sprain) will attempt to practice this morning but his status for Sunday is uncertain. The Kings had hoped Jeff Cowan (groin) might be able to play Sunday, but that now appears unlikely … Murray said he expects to start Mathieu Garon in goal Sunday against Calgary. Rich Hammond, (818) 713-3611 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!